I recently finished Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”. I often feel, when contemplating the vastness of space and time, more than a little insignificant. We live short, scrappy lives on one small little planet orbiting one unremarkable star, our ~80 year life spans like a brief beat in an endless symphony of time. Everything we do could be wiped out in a moment by a comet or crazed North Korean, and like Ozymandius, even the grandest amongst us are likely to be forgotten by the ravages of time.
Our time is now, and today is a gift. The astronomical unlikelihood of being here, now, is remarkable. The time we have to spend with our children, our parents, our friends, our partners is precious. There is joy in small moments despite the fact that we are butterflies in a typhoon of time.
In his novel, Tyson references Einstein’s stating his ‘greatest blunder’ was the insertion of lambda, a cosmological constant that was intended to balance out the runaway expansion of the universe. It turns out his blunder was in fact correct - the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate - destined to end in darkness. If that doesn’t keep you up at night…
“The cosmic perspective is humble.”
In our youth, we are filled with fire and spunk, untethered by that which we do not know.
In our middle age, we are at the height of our powers, full of capability and having built the muscles that enable us to move mountains.
In our old age, instead of dying embers of an ever expanding universe, we need to rage against the dying of the light. For it is then, as our years have shortened to hours, that we have nothing to lose and every moment is one to be cherished.
Enjoy today. Although it is small, and we are mortal, it is ours, and a gift.
And now, this.